Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In The Beginning

Another great read by Chiam Potok. Same setting, similar characters, time period slightly before The Chosen and Asher Lev. Same despair and crying out to the Master of the Universe regarding the almost complete annihilation of the Jewish people. Still the same GREAT writing. The character development is exquisite.
I was struck by this passage:

"The noise inside the synagogue poured out into the night, an undulating, swelling and receding and thinning and growing sound. The joy of dancing with the Torah, holding it close to you, the words of God to Moses at Sinai. I wondered if gentiles ever danced with their Bible. "Hey, Tony,. do you ever dance with your Bible?" .....Do you ever read your Bible? Do you ever hold it to you and know how much you love it?"
And later,
"You see, people have taken the book that I love and have emasculated it. We died for its ideas, and they have drained those ideas of life. Yet there is something in what those people claim; but they cannot have said it all. I stake my life on that...The Torah is not the word of God to Moses at Sinai. But neither is it infantile stories and fables and legends and borrowed pagan myths.... I want to know the truth."

How many have lost their faith because it could not stand up to historical criticism? Another sweeping theme in Potok's work. But he responds, "...if the Torah cannot go out into your world of scholarship and return stronger, than we are all fools and charlatans. I have faith in the Torah. I am not afraid of truth... Bring yourself back an not bring yourself back shallowness....Merely to destroy. That is a form of shallowness."
How much of our culture is bent on destroying definitions, standards, understandings all under the guise of tolerance and compassion. Shallowness reigns. Who dances still? Dances with Joy. Holding their faith close to their heart, dancing with abandon and passion and joy becasue they believe in a reality that cannot be contained or written well enough or seen with the eye's of man?
Truth is truth regardless of annihilation or destruction or denial. Truth reigns.
Well said Potok. Well said.

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